Dissidência e síntese na Royal Society: hasta la vista, Darwin?

segunda-feira, abril 24, 2017

Schism and Synthesis at the Royal Society

Kevin N. Laland

Publication History

Published online: February 28, 2017


November 7–9, 2016 witnessed a joint discussion meeting of the Royal Society and the British Academy (the UK national academies for the sciences and social sciences, respectively) entitled ‘New Trends in Evolutionary Biology: Biological, Philosophical and Social Science Perspectives’. The meeting, anticipated with a mix of feverish enthusiasm and dread, sold out months in advance, the eager audience perhaps expecting radical and traditional evolutionists to go toe to toe, rather than the constructive dialogue among biologists, social scientists, and researchers in the humanities that the academies advertised. One issue under discussion was whether or not the explanatory core of evolutionary biology requires updating in the light on recent advances in evo-devo, epigenetics, ecosystem ecology, and elsewhere.


The conference brought home a key point – these debates are not about data but rather about how findings are interpreted and understood.

Those speakers at the meeting pushing for change tend to emphasize the role of conceptual frameworks in shaping what questions are asked, what data are collected, and what factors are viewed as causally important.

For all that, the discussion witnessed little meeting of minds.

For these social scientists, standard gene-centric selectionist accounts provided less satisfactory explanations. 


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